First and foremost, you need to seek true men/women of God and associate yourself with them. They are the experts in the purification of the heart, the primary driving force to excel in this life for the next. They will guide you and support you.
Be blessed by their company and learn from their expertise. They are rightly guided and well supported by God. So, they will ensure that your journey produces the optimal expected results both in this life and the next.
With God’s will, they will motivate and empower you to stay the course.
Not only will you be highly honored to accompany them in this life but also have the distinct privilege to be resurrected with them in the Hereafter.
Who are they?
They are the truest men and women of God. They display the following characteristics:
♦ Have demonstrated clear signs of full support and blessings from God
♦ Have shown an outstanding level of understanding and interpretation of the book of God
♦ Have been a role model in the purification of the heart as well as leadership
♦ Are committed to the pursuit of excellence
♦ Are creative, honest, trustworthy, humble, and open minded
♦ Are fearful of no one except God.
How to find them?
One should not rely on his/her own logic or limited power and knowledge to seek such persons of outstanding characteristics. One might wrongly see all of these characteristics in the wrong person or might fail to see some of them in the right one (Yassine, 1998). To find them, implore God for guidance and support, as recommended by Imām ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlanī (1993):
If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice [ulama ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen. Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each one of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is to get up, take an ablution [yatawadda], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak’atayn] and say: “O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path.” (p. 406).
If you sincerely and insistently seek these men and women of God, God will lead you to them.
How to make their companionship most fruitful?
You will have to exhibit the following characteristics in order to benefit the most from the company of the righteous and so make your journey most successful:
♦ Truthfulness and faithfulness: Be truthful in your claims and commitments to such companionship, and stay faithful to whatever these men/women of God entrust you with.
♦ Conviction with action: Have confidence in what they instruct you to do, and act on it.
♦ Adoration and admiration: Highly adore and admire them for being excellent servants of God
♦ Supplication, service, and support: Pray for them and offer them full service and support as the least form of appreciation.
Calling by role-modeling: Call others to join such companionship so that they too have a chance to excel in this life for the next. This is best done by role modeling, showing in action the essential role such companionship plays in making one’s journey highly successful.